Encephalitis Victim Wins Damages Following Hospital Medication Error

HospitalHospital medication errors are sadly more common than they should be and can have devastating consequences. In one case, a man who was not given the right doses of therapeutic drugs, at the right time, after developing a rare brain infection won more than £600,000 in compensation from the NHS.

The middle-aged man sustained a severe brain injury when the herpes simplex virus from which he was suffering developed into full-blown encephalitis, a life-threatening inflammation of the brain. Although medics swiftly spotted the cause of his condition, dosing errors meant that he did not respond to treatment as expected. His disabilities are so severe that he has to be looked after in a residential home.

After his wife contacted solicitors, the NHS trust that ran the hospital admitted breach of duty. It disputed the extent to which medication errors had contributed to his injury but, following negotiations, agreed to a £613,000 settlement of his claim. Approving the compromise, the High Court noted the complex issues raised by the case and that litigation risks had been taken into account in arriving at the damages figure.